4 months. A full third of a year. That’s how long it’s been since I last cooked meat in my kitchen. Yes, I can hear the vegetarians cheering in victory and the carnivores groaning in agony. But after my vegan challenge ended in early July, there was still something appealing about not worrying if raw meat juices oozed all over my countertops or if pesky little bacteria infected my sponges.
Then again, when I realized I had a frozen chicken breast in the freezer with more ice on it than meat, it was time to face my fears and thaw him out. But how to cook him?
Wracking my brain, I strained to remember methods of preparing the bird. Bake or broil? Marinade or dry rub? Whole or cut in strips? After hours of debating—okay, maybe just a few minutes—I settled on a simple drizzle of olive oil with a sprinkling of salt and pepper. And into the 350° oven (only chosen because it’s a baker’s favorite temperature!) he went.
Well that baby took a little longer than I expected, probably because my paranoia set in and I constantly opened up the oven door to check I wasn’t turning him into charcoal. Once the skin turned a little golden, I couldn’t wait any longer—what if he was drier than a desert on the inside?—and yanked him out.
But when I cut him open and carved out a bite, I nearly ate the whole thing. Surprisingly moist and tender, especially for how long he was frozen (I’m too embarrassed to say!). Yet I did manage to save a few bites to make a deliciously tangy chicken salad.
Mayo-less Chicken Salad
serves 3-4 as a side, or 2 as a main dish
Moist chicken is key. It should be so tender that as you slice it, it’s impossible not to eat every other bite! Embellish with your favorite herbs.
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp dried onion flakes
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large, cooked chicken breast
½ c. red seedless grapes
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
- Combine yogurt, mustard, onion, and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put in a medium bowl. Quarter the grapes, and add them and the walnuts to the chicken. Pour yogurt mixture on top, and mix well to coat.